Confessions: Trust gets cut down to size
All they wanted to do was to consolidate the editorial department at one place. But, that was never communicated to any of us. I felt cheated and angry. It was then I made up my mind to leave the company. They had lost my trust and I don’t forgive easily
It was a usual day at work. Once I reached office, I set about my routine. Looking through mails to see what the reporters have sent, checking agencies to see the big news items of the day and making a list of things that I would need to do. Then I noticed our senior editor who had come in from New Delhi. I was curious. What was he doing here? So I asked my colleagues and they replied saying it was the usual visit from the headquarters. The senior editor usually did a round of all the bureaus across the country and it was known in the organisation. Rest assured, I went back to work. But, little did I know that it was going to a really dark day.
I usually go to office around 2-3pm. At 4pm, the senior editor started calling in everyone one by one. This was very unusual and it got me really worried. I was wondering what was going on as I was sure that appraisals were definitely not on top of his mind! Soon, it was my turn. I walked into his cabin, feeling tentative and nervous. We were in the midst of the worst recession I had memory of and I was wondering if I was going to hear something I didn’t want to.
He asked me to sit down. I did. Slowly, he looked up at me and said, “So, here is the situation. We are planning to shut down the Mumbai office. We are moving everyone out to Delhi. The idea is to get everyone under one roof.”
It took me two to three minutes to register what he was saying. I was like, “So what are you saying? Are you firing us?” He responded immediately saying that no is being asked to go. Then he paused. That pause had the weight of a freight truck. I said, “How is that possible that you are asking no one to go and still are planning to shut down the Mumbai office?” To which he replied, “Well, you have two options. Either you come to Delhi or you quit.”
I had only heard tales of people being displaced from their jobs. A very close friend of mine worked with Nomura and he got laid off. Many others were struggling to find jobs and the media sector seemed like the worst place to work in ever. The full import of what he said slowly hit me. I couldn’t believe it – I was being laid off. I mean sure the carrot of moving to Delhi was there, but then I hated Delhi. Having lived in Mumbai for four years, it was very difficult to imagine living elsewhere.
Besides, Mumbai and Delhi offices always had sort of a bickering game. It is one thing to work at the headquarters of a company and it is another ball game to work in a bureau. How were the people there? What will they think of us? Where will I live in Delhi, a city that is known as the rape capital of the country? All these thoughts were crossing through my mind when he asked me what I wanted to do.
I got angry, but he was a senior editor and there is only so much you can tell someone senior, especially if you are going to work under him in the future. So, I mumbled saying I will go to Delhi. In literally two weeks, I was shifted to Delhi. The office was cold, uninviting and lacked the warmth that I had come to cherish in the Mumbai office. But, that was not it. I learnt that they didn’t close down the Mumbai office. They never had a plan to do that. All they wanted to do was to consolidate the editorial department at one place. But, that was never communicated to any of us. Neither the top management nor the senior editors bothered to explain the situation. I felt cheated and angry. It was then I made up my mind to leave the company. They had lost my trust and I don’t forgive easily.
(THE WRITER is a former journalist who worked with a leading media company)